Gel vs. AGM : The Pros and Cons List
Two essential battery options to use today are gel and AGM. A gel cell battery contains a silica-type gel with electrolytes suspended within it, creating a thick paste that lets electrons flow between plates without leaking from the battery if the case breaks for some reason.
AGM stands for “absorbed glass mat.” This battery option uses a specially designed mat that wicks the electrolyte between the battery plates. It contains enough liquid to keep the glass wet. If it should break for some reason, there is no free liquid with this design.
It’s not unusual for AGM and gel cell batteries to be confused for one another. They have several traits in common, including mounting position, deep cycling, and low levels of self-discharge. They’re also safe for use in areas with limited ventilation.
Although AGM batteries outsell their gel counterparts, carefully evaluating each option's various pros and cons ensure that you select the best choice for your current or future needs.
Gel batteries are a bit like the traditional lead-acid designs. Since they have a thicker electrolyte, you can install them in different positions without worrying about emitting as many fumes as other options. []
The gel mixture lets the battery use acid and electrolytes in the same way without extra maintenance.
Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of gel batteries.
List of the Pros of Gel Batteries
List of the Cons of Gel Batteries
This battery type has resistance to vibration and other impacts. The gel absorbs the movement, making it an excellent choice for any components that experience those issues while operating.
Gel batteries are less popular because their cost is higher than traditional types. People who want to switch from wet cell to this option often see this disadvantage as their most significant barrier.
It doesn’t take much maintenance to keep the battery working as intended. Most of the time, you don’t need to do anything to maximize your power.
It takes a little extra time to charge a gel battery. Slow charging cycles are relatively common with this type.
Gel batteries are highly resistant to discharge death. It’s a deep cycle design that can still be recharged to function like before without worrying if too much energy was expended.
You cannot walk away from the charging process with a gel battery. Since it doesn’t use a liquid, it needs to be removed from the charger as soon as the cycle is complete. Leaving it on after could cause irreversible voids with the electrolyte.
This design has minimal risks to control compared to the traditional lead-acid battery type. Since no leaks occur if the casing becomes compromised, you have fewer hazards to consider when managing an incident.
Heat control is necessary to maximize the lifespan of this battery type. Although this disadvantage applies to most batteries, you can lengthen the life cycle by controlling temperature exposure.
Gel batteries use a sealed design with a valve that removes extra pressure. That means there is nowhere for the internal mixture to go. []
When a gel battery gets too hot, the risk of having the plates separating increases. If you experience a malfunction, look for bulging in the case to see if this disadvantage occurred.
A gel battery delivers a long life with low maintenance needs. If you need flexibility at your installation point, this product provides consistent results. []
AGM batteries are designed to deliver a powerful burst of starting amps while providing energy for your electronics for a long time.
The pros and cons of AGM batteries show how they could be a valuable addition to your power needs today.
List of the Pros of AGM Batteries
List of the Cons of AGM Batteries
You don’t need to worry about spills when using an AGM battery. Since the acid is held in the glass mats, they won’t spill even when broken. That makes them safer to transport, allowing for a HAZMAT restriction exemption.
If you invest in an AGM battery for your application, you must also purchase a charger that works with this technology. The voltages, amps, and ambient temperature require monitoring during the recharge.
This battery type is resistant to vibration and shocks. It was initially designed to withstand the constant issues in those areas that helicopters and airplanes create while operating.
Older battery testers cannot test AGM batteries, making it difficult to know the product’s current status.
An AGM battery handles cold weather better than a standard wet cell design. Even if the product freezes, it won’t be damaged. You can thaw it out and use it with confidence once again.
AGM batteries are sensitive to high voltages and overcharging. You must bring it back to a full charge between uses to maximize its lifespan.
Minimal gassing occurs when using AGM batteries, ensuring that they are usable in any orientation. You won’t need to worry about ventilation while accessing its energy. []
If you’re using an AGM battery in applications where returning it to a full charge is not possible, you may experience a shortened life cycle with your investment.
Since this battery has a low self-discharge rate, it can be stored for a long time before requiring a recharge.
The manufacturing costs of AGM batteries are higher than other types, but the price is comparable to gel counterparts.
Since AGM batteries are so dependable, they’re often used in boats, RVs, and even wheelchairs. Adding its low-maintenance qualities adds even more value to the investment. []
If you look at the power capacity of gel vs. AGM batteries, the latter has a slight advantage because it delivers a better median rating with the same physical size.
When you need a battery with a slow discharge rate for long-term storage, a gel battery delivers benefits to consider.
Whether you choose one or the other, you can know with confidence that you’re getting an excellent product that can power your needs.
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